Azure Information Protection Automatic Classification

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Another interesting behavior I came across when adding conditions and the way labels are applied.

My Confidential AIP labels are configured as shown below.


I configured the parent label (Confidential) to automatically classify documents.


I entered the text below to trigger one of the conditions. I noticed that the document was labeled as ‘Confidential \ Restricted’ which is the last child label listed in my AIP portal. Well, this was, obviously, not what I expected.


To further test if it will always default to the last child label, I reordered the child labels. I moved the ‘Restricted’ child label up and now ‘Anyone (not protected)’ is listed as the last child label.


Just as I expected, the new document was labeled as ‘Confidential \ Anyone (not protected)’ automatically.


In this experience, I learned that I need to configure the conditions at the specific child label level to get the anticipated results.

Thanks for reading!



Azure Information Protection Client Preview – Visual Marking Variables

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I had the opportunity to install the latest release of the new Azure Information Protection client PREVIEW, which can be downloaded here.

One of new features included with this client release is the ability to apply different visual markings for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. I’m not sure how business users will take advantage of this, but I had to try it out.

In my Azure Portal, I configured my Confidential \ All Employees label to apply specific watermark to Word and PowerPoint, and a different watermark to Excel. Keep in mind that watermarks are not supported in Outlook.


When a document is classified as Confidential \ All Employees, the watermark is displayed as:

Word: This content is Confidential


PowerPoint: This content is Confidential


Excel: Confidential


Thanks for reading!

Azure Information Protection Administrator Role

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Great news for organizations that have concerns about granting Global Admin or Security Admin rights to users who need to manage Azure Information Protection policy.

The Azure Active Directory team have added a new role named Information Protection Administrator.  Members of this role can manage Azure Information Protection labels and policies using Azure portal, and use RMS PowerShell

Note that the role is currently in public preview.


Great news!!


Encrypt E-mail with Attachments

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As I continue to test different settings in Azure Information Protection, I want to share one that I find interesting.

I configured AIP for e-mail message with attachments to automatically apply a label that matches the highest classification of those attachments.

I created an e-mail where a default label ‘Official Use’ is automatically applied to my e-mail message. I then attached a document classified as ‘Restricted’, the classification of my e-mail message automatic changed to ‘Restricted \ All Employees’. This is the expected behavior.

I then sent the e-mail with the attachment to a trusted partner (in this case myself with a different domain) which I have configured ‘Viewer’ rights to view and reply the e-mail and the attachment.

Below is the e-mail message I sent to the trusted partner.


However, when the trusted partner (again, myself with a different domain) received the e-mail and tried to click on the ‘Read the message’ link (image below shows e-mail message received by the trusted partner), the trusted partner received “You do not have permission to view this message.”


After much testing, in order to allow my trusted partner to read the message, I had to change permissions from ‘Viewer’ to ‘Reviewer’ in Azure Information Protection.

As I continue to work with Azure Information Protection, I find myself learning new things every day.

Thanks for reading!


Protect and Manage Sharing of Sensitive Documents

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In my previous post, Classifying and Protecting Data in Office 365, I created an AIP (Azure Information Protection) label / policy that applied a footer text with “Sensitivity: Confidential”.

In this post, I’ll describe how you can take advantage of the properties stored in the document, by applying a rule to protect information sharing.

For example, to protect documents from being sent to external organizations via e-mail, you can configure a rule in Exchange to detect the document properties with a sensitivity label. Here’s an example of the configuration I created.

Exchange Mail Flow Rule

When a user within your organization attempts to send an e-mail with an attachment labeled with ‘Confidential’, the mail flow rule blocks it and the message sender receives the following delivery failure message as seen below (with the recipients e-mail addresses grayed out).


However, if you need to send to your trusted partners or customers, you can add their specific domains to the exception list in the mail flow rule. In the example below, I added one trusted domain to the rule.


With this exception, I was able to send the document labelled with ‘Confidential’ to the external recipients with the domain specified.

With the latest and greatest changes to AIP, and Office 365 Message Encryption capabilities, announced during the recent Microsoft Ignite Conference, the user experience of protecting and sharing your documents may be different than what is written in this post. I’ll continue provide updates and new information becomes available.

If you’re interested in learning more about data classification and protecting your organization’s information assets, feel free to connect with us at


Retention and AIP Protected Documents

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This is a follow up to my previous post (Which Office 365 Retention Policy Should You Use?).

Before I jump in, I want to provide additional information on documents stored in my SharePoint site.

I configured Azure Information Protection labels and published them. Note that All Employees sub-label of Restricted label is configured with protection. I created several documents, applied these labels manually and automatically, and uploaded them to SharePoint.

AIP Labels2

After applying retention policies to these documents (my previous post), one thing I noticed after the retention policies automatically applied to these documents, two of my documents classified as ‘Restricted All Employees‘ have no policies applied to them.  I waited additional days thinking that I was just too impatient.  After several days, still nothing.

AIP RMS Enabled

I have always known that AIP protected documents are not viewable in Office Web Apps, but I couldn’t understand why retention policies were not able to apply to these documents.

After researching more on this behavior, I’ve learned that SharePoint is not able to index AIP protected documents.  Because of this there are no metadata available for the retention policies to query on these documents.

I hope this helps explaining why O365 retention and SharePoint don’t always give you the expected results.


Which Office 365 Retention Policy Should You Use?

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As I started to work on applying retention policies to documents stored in SharePoint using Office 365 Security & Compliance Center, I was confused why the retention policies were not working as I had hoped.

My objective was to have retention policies automatically applied to documents stored in SharePoint without needing the end-user to select the correct retention policy. I created several labels and policies under Classifications, configured one of them to detect content that contains specific words or phrases, and set them to auto-apply to my SharePoint site.  It gave me a warning that it may take up to seven (7) days for the label to apply.


I waited for seven days, but nothing showed up in my SharePoint site.

After a bit of digging I found that label policies created under Classifications only appear for users to manually select from SharePoint.


Since this did not meet my objective, I deleted these label policies from O365 Security & Compliance Center.

After more research and testing, I found that in order to achieve my objective, I had to create the retention policies under Data Governance.


Again, I had to wait.  But this time it only took one day for the policies to auto-apply.


In summary, if you want users to manually select retention policy, use Label Policies under Classifications.  If you want an automated method, use Retention under Data Governance.  I hope this helps others who have tried to make sense of which retention policy method to use.


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